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Waylon Walker
Waylon Walker

Posted on • Originally published at


Web browsers are a black hole of productivity. I try to use them as little as possible when it is time to focus. I try to use help, ?, or ?? with ipython, or --help at the command line as much as possible. What about that time I am trying to see what my online friends are posting on their sites? I used to used google reader quite heavily before that was taken down.


I am going to give a terminal rss reader a try for a bit and see how that goes for me. I have really struggled to get into an rss reader since google reader died.


I installed with the recommended snap for Ubuntu.

sudo snap install newsboat
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Adding feeds

super simple

Running help for newsboat directed me towards their config files at the bottom.

❯ newsboat --help
newsboat r2.22
usage: /snap/newsboat/3849/usr/local/bin/newsboat [-i <file>|-e] [-u <urlfile>] [-c <cachefile>] [-x <command> ...] [-h]
    -e, --export-to-opml        export OPML feed to stdout
    -r, --refresh-on-start      refresh feeds on start
    -i, --import-from-opml=<file>   import OPML file
    -u, --url-file=<urlfile>    read RSS feed URLs from <urlfile>
    -c, --cache-file=<cachefile>    use <cachefile> as cache file
    -C, --config-file=<configfile>  read configuration from <configfile>
    -X, --vacuum            compact the cache
    -x, --execute=<command>...  execute list of commands
    -q, --quiet         quiet startup
    -v, --version           get version information
    -l, --log-level=<loglevel>  write a log with a certain loglevel (valid values: 1 to 6)
    -d, --log-file=<logfile>    use <logfile> as output log file
    -E, --export-to-file=<file> export list of read articles to <file>
    -I, --import-from-file=<file>   import list of read articles from <file>
    -h, --help          this help
        --cleanup           remove unreferenced items from cache

    - configuration:  /home/nic/snap/newsboat/3849/.newsboat/config
    - feed URLs:      /home/nic/snap/newsboat/3849/.newsboat/urls
    - cache:          /home/nic/snap/newsboat/3849/.newsboat/cache.db

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I just need to edit its urls file.

nvim ~/snap/newsboat/3849/.newsboat/urls
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The Urls file is just a list of urls to rss feeds. Adding mine in allowed me to see all of my posts.
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I took most of my config from a blog post that I found by Evan Travers. It set some sane defaults to the reading width and vim keys.

# Hide feeds where all the items are read.
show-read-feeds no

# Make the text width readable
text-width 50

# Use multiple threads to download all the news faster.
reload-threads 11

# browser ~/bin/
# browser "/usr/bin/brave-browser %u"

# unbind keys
unbind-key ENTER
unbind-key j
unbind-key k
unbind-key J
unbind-key K
unbind-key ^D
unbind-key ^U
unbind-key o
unbind-key g
unbind-key G

# bind keys - vim style
bind-key j down
bind-key k up
bind-key l open
bind-key h quit
bind-key ^D pagedown
bind-key ^U pageup
bind-key b toggle-source-view
bind-key U toggle-show-read-feeds
bind-key u show-urls
bind-key g home
bind-key G end
bind-key b open-in-browser-and-mark-read
bind-key B open-in-browser
bind-key i sort
bind-key I rev-sort
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GUI Browser

No matter how many different guides I tried I keedp getting error code 127 when trying to open-in-browser. Please let me know if you know how to fix this. For now I am just going to roll with it.

Here's how it looks

newsboat feed

browsing a feed in newsboat

newsboat article

reading an article in newsboat

Top comments (3)

rb2 profile image
Ruslan Brest

I have no problem with open-in-browser. Try to add the browser parameter to the config. Mine is:

#browser chromium
browser vivaldi-stable
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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

I tried this with brave, firefox, w3m, and lynx with no luck. I even tried to create a sh script like they recommended in the docs. May be something I have done.

mrrcollins profile image
Ryan Collins

Newsboat also integrates with several services. I use it with Inoreader. From the command line I use Newsboat, but when I'm on my iPhone I use Reeder. It's nice to keep the read articles in sync.